What Does it Mean to be Charged With a “Wobbler” in California?
If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with a crime in California, you may have heard the term “wobbler” used in regards to the charge. But do you know what it means, and how it affects you when you’re charged with one? Read on for some important information about being charged with a wobbler.
“Wobbler” refers to the fact that certain offenses can be charged and prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Some examples of offenses that are wobblers are:
*CA Penal Code section 273.5 (Spousal battery)
*CA Penal Code section 245(a)(1) (Assault with a deadly weapon)
*CA Penal Code section 459 (Burglary)
*Numerous fraud charges and sex crimes
This discrepancy can have a big impact on any jail or prison sentence you receive if you’re found guilty, as well as the amount of fines with which you could be charged, and your criminal record going forward. For example, a felony conviction could cause you to lose a military security clearance and the right to vote, and cause you to have difficulty finding a job or leasing an apartment. In California, you would be unable to possess a firearm as a convicted felon.
As you can see, being able to have the crime charged as a misdemeanor rather than a felony can have a big impact on your future. When deciding how to charge a crime, prosecutors will look at your prior criminal history, the seriousness of the facts surrounding the charge, and any other mitigating factors of the arrest, such as the legality of the police officer’s behavior in arresting you. Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney could make all the difference in arguing that circumstances warrant charging the offense as a misdemeanor. Additionally, if you’ve already been found guilty of a felony for a wobbler offense, a criminal defense attorney can petition the court later to have the wobbler conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.
If you have been charged with a crime in Southern California, give yourself the best chance of clearing your name and moving on with your life by contacting experienced Ventura County criminal defense attorney Paul Tyler, at 805-981-3916.